Newsroom
Celebrating our Heritage

There is something that is uniquely beautiful in diversity. Our country has so many cultural heritages to celebrate and be proud of. But our strength as a nation lies in our ability to turn our differences into our strengths. Just as our Mamas learned how to combine various spices and flavours to improve their cooking, so we too need to learn to rely more on one another, to support one another and to look after one another without discrimination. We live by our motto: Ukwakha Isizwe. We will build and nurture our nation, together. We will lift one another to new heights.

A Message from Prof Elain Vlok
What a fantastic month we’ve had! We were blessed with a fantastic cooking and baking course, sponsored by our long-term project partner MiX Telematics, that I know added immense value to our Mamas and their catering and baking projects. We received our first cheque of the proceeds of Clover’s first annual Charity Golf Day, which will go a long way to assisting in further upskilling our training beneficiaries, and we won the Gender Mainstreaming Award. It is an immensely satisfying feeling to see that the work we do, and the values of the Clover Mama Afrika project is being recognised. This month we have another golf day to look forward to, and we will be celebrating our birthday. We even have a special something planned for it, so watch this space!
Upcoming Training

29 September - 04 October - Top 5 Quilters - Diamond in the Rough Quilt
13 October - Clover Mama Afrika Birthday Celebration

Birthdays

09 October - Mama Lizzy Magama

Gender Mainstreaming Award

The Clover Mama Afrika project received yet another prestigious award at the 2017 Gender Mainstreaming Award Ceremony. We were the overall winners in the Empowerment of Women in the Community category for a JSE listed company. The criteria for the award is to: “…recognise organisations that have strategies in place to allow for future programmes, or have implemented sustainable initiatives around poverty alleviation that have enhanced skills and provided income opportunities that have positively impacted on the lives of women and poor communities.”

We are incredibly proud of our Mamas and the various social enterprise programmes they have implemented to help not only themselves but also their fellow community members become self-sustainable.

“We are so honoured to have received this prestigious award. It truly recognises the ideals we strive for, and this award is attributed to all key role players within our project. I dedicate this award to the unconditional support we receive from our Exco, project partners, and of course our own Clover Mama Afrikas. Thank you!” says Prof Elain with pride.

Prof Elain Vlok on the far left stands with members of Cummins Africa Middle East, who won in the Non-JSE listed category. In the middle is Minister of Women in the Presidency Susan Shabangu with Colleen Larson, Chief Executive of Business Engage and President of the 30% Club Southern Africa.

Clover Charity Golf Day

Annually, Clover holds a Charity Golf Day and selects various worthy charities as beneficiaries of monies raised, however this year, Clover Mama Afrika was selected as the sole beneficiary of not one, but two Clover Charity Golf Days. The first of the two days teed off without a glitch, and we were proud to display some of the artwork and crafts that are handmade by our Clover Mama Afrikas.

“I am grateful for the incredible support and have so many companies to thank such as RMB, Hestony, Clover Fonterra, Goscor, Polyoak, Adcorp, Bidvest, Kellogs and so many more. I am also very thankful to MiX Telematics Africa who has booked four balls for both this golf day as well as the one in October. The proceeds are going to be very well distributed in our project, that’s for sure. It was also great to see all four-balls having their photos taken with the beautiful jackets made by our Clover Mama Afrika sewers recently. On behalf of all Clover Mama Afrikas, we thank every participant with all heart as your contribution will make an immense difference,” Prof Elain confirmed.

 
Prof Elain proudly wearing one of the jackets sewn during a recent sewing course at Bernina where our Mamas learnt how to sew lined jackets, and the quality of their work cannot be disputed.   “I enjoyed making sure that each golfer looked his best in our lovely jackets for the group photo,” said Prof Elain.

At the end of the first Clover Charity Golf Day, Jacques van Heerden, Clover Executive: Legal, Secretarial and Human Resources handed over the proceeds to Prof Elain.

A Cook and Bake Masterclass

Clover Mama Afrika cooks and bakers were reunited for a full week of intense training which covered pie making, koeksisters, and a cooking course which delved into understanding spices and curries and making pizza on a terracotta tile. All the above training sessions were made possible by our long-term project partner MiX Telematics.

Our cooking and baking masterclass 2017 attendees, FLTR Mary from Hazyview, Leonie Edwards, Mama Mirriam T from Mbekweni, Anusha Padayachee, Prof Elain, Mama Selestien from Ashbury, Virginie from Ennerdale, Phomolo from Botshabelo, Mama Mirriam M from Tembisa and Mama Nondumiso Mpitimpiti from Amalinda Forest.

Day 1 - Pie Making
There is an art to making puff pastry, the perfect puff is tender and beautifully flaky, and Juandi Meyer of Juandi’s Catering and her assistant Bongani, wasted no time to teach the class their secrets. It takes hard work, a bit of love and a whole lot of dedication, but there is nothing more satisfying than being able to make your own pies. “This skill will definitely add value to the Mamas bakery and catering services, and we could not have had better teachers than Juandi and Bongani who is known as the puff pastry king,” said Prof Elain
 

Juandi with Mary from Hazyview after having grated a whole lot of cold margarine into the flour mixture. Mary was surprised to learn that pastry is not made with a lot of eggs, but rather a lot of butter and as she says: “A lot of rolling. It is good to know how to make this pastry.”

  Bongani shows Virginie from Ennerdale an easier way to mix the dough to avoid a texture that is too smooth. “From now on, Sizabantu Bakery will have delicious homemade pies for sale,” said an excited Virginie.
 

Juandi evaluates Prof Elain’s rolling and folding technique.

  “I am not a pie fan, but after making the pastry myself and having fun doing the fillings, I have a new-found respect for pies and will definitely eat these. I will make these pies in my bakery and call them Toni’s Pies,” said Mama Mirriam T from Mbekweni.

Mama Mirriam M from Tembisa, while preparing her chicken pies said: “I never thought I would learn to make my own pies. It is going to be a good addition to the bakery.”

Day 2 & 3

There is a massive difference learning how to make a koeksister, under the guidance of a qualified and supportive teacher, who can help when you forget a step, or see when you do something wrong. But part of training is evaluating the progress of our bakers. So, they were tasked with bringing a dozen koeksisters they made at their respective bakeries to be evaluated by Prof Elain, Isabel and Rina. “I genuinely appreciated the good attitude that each student had when their koeksisters were judged and evaluated. We could smooth out any imperfections during the two days and again provide them with the necessary retraining to perfect a product that is in demand. After all, practice and more practice makes perfect,” said Prof Elain. After the evaluation process, each baker’s weaknesses were identified and addressed accordingly. But, this training session also included a demonstration of a cake that could be transformed into four different delectable cakes.

 
A collection of nervous bakers await their evaluation. FLTR: evaluator Prof Elain, Phomolo from Botshabelo, Mamas Mirriam T from Mbekweni and Mirriam M from Tembisa, Nondumiso from Amalinda Forest, Mary from Hazyview and Virginie from Ennerdale with teachers Rina and Isabel.   There is no time to rest during our marathon training sessions, so while we waited for the 3 and 6-hour koeksister dough, Rina and Isabel demonstrated one cake four ways.

Coconut topping, Granadilla, Decadent Chocolate and Dainty Custard Cake.

 
Prof Isabel reminds Mary to regulate and maintain the oil’s heat so as to not burn the koeksisters.   Mama Mirriam T needs to practice her twisting skill, and concentrate on making all her koeksisters the same size.
Day 4 & 5

In the Northern Cape, there lies a small town called Ritchie, and it is home to two passionate cooks who, like most people consumed by passion cannot help to share their knowledge. Anusha Padayachee and Leonie Edwards took the Clover Mama Afrika trainees to new heights with their cooking and baking skills, introducing them to different spices, flavours, and cooking techniques. “Being given the opportunity to share my passion with Clover Mama Afrika was a privilege. Both Leonie and myself had a great time teaching the Mamas, and their eagerness to learn made it an absolute pleasure to work with them,” Anusha confirmed.

“Both Anusha and Leonie put so much planning and preparation into this class and made it a uniquely exemplary class,” said Prof Elain.

 
Knowing how to use which spices can transform any dish.   Mama Nondumiso attentively making notes. “Learning about the different spices and how to make good wholesome curries and stews was an eye-opener for me. My cooking skills have just been transformed for the better, and it will really help my catering project,” she said.
 
A step-by-step demonstration by Anusha on properly spicing your meats before cooking them.   Mama Selestien with Anusha and Prof Elain. Mama Selestien was very impressed with the course and is looking forward to taking her catering to new heights: “After this course, my meals are going to be the best of the best. Both Anusha and Leonie taught us in a way that it was easy to understand and we will remember what we learned. They were great.”
 
Cutting onions is always a tearful affair, but Phomolo, who manages Mama Florence’s catering project in Botshabelo, didn’t mind it too much. Her excitement over what she learnt trumped the tears, proudly stating that: “My menu is going to change the minute I get back home. I am so grateful for having learned how to make curries and all about spices. This is going to help me a lot.”   Leonie demonstrates on how to make your own pizza dough.

Mamas Mirriam M and Mirriam T were rightfully impressed with the pizzas and various toppings that the class made. “Making your own pizza dough and the different flavours and toppings that you can add is just a wow for me! I’ve always wanted to treat the children in my care with pizzas, but it’s expensive. Now I can’t wait to treat them with regular pizza nights,” said Mama Mirriam T.

“That's what I consider true generosity: You give your all, and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing.”  ― Simone de Beauvoir